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Lingering Christian Guilt


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Until about a year ago, I was catholic. I didn't really care about the pope or pray to the saints or anything like that, but i liked my church a lot. I learned about God when i was really young and i took it pretty seriously. Growing up my dad had a pretty bad temper and was a recovering alchoholic and my mom was anorexic and went out of town for about 6 weeks to get treatment. I think i was in third or fourth grade during this time. I remember feeling really lost and scared because my mom was gone and my dad would get extremely angry and start yelling at me for no reason. I began praying alot during that time and i continued to until i stopped being christian a year ago. When I got into high school i became even more christian. I joined a bible study full of girls that i became great friends with and i also loved the youth group at my church. I got confirmed into the catholic church which felt like a very powerful emotional experience at the time.

 

Though I felt pretty strongly that a Judeo-Christian God existed, I tried really hard to be open minded. I had some very inconsistent views that i held simultaneously. I think that those eventually led me away from christianity. I sort of thought that maybe every religion was christianity with different names for biblical characters haha. I probably developed ideas like these because I could not stand the idea of someone going to hell. Me and my boyfriend (who I am still with) would have some pretty long talks about christianity and religion and general. He is agnostic (well pretty much atheist). During these conversations he would always point out when my beliefs were inconsistent with the bible and talk about stuff like men selling their daughters in the bible and other stuff like that. I don't really remember specifics from these conversations because they happened about two years ago I just remember that they impacted me a lot and sparked a lot of doubt.

 

Summer before college i read 1984. This book really got me thinking about "double think" and how much i had of it. It also made me think about how our perceptions are so easily manipulated and how mine were by christianity. i think that at this point I had already verbalized my doubts about christianity so I could supress them no longer. I was still trying with all my might to cling onto them though!

 

Going to college is really what did it. I was away from my church friends and family and I had time to think. I began admitting to myself that I didnt really think that everything in the bible was likely. over a few months I completly let go of christianity. Once i started discussing my doubts, they completley consumed my mind so that returning to christianity was impossible but my mind was still not ready to let go because I really prayed SO much even when i was doubtful. it was just habitual. I was in this class and i dont really understand why we did this exercise (the professor said it was to talk about diversity) but we did an activity where she asked questions and then we stood at different sides of the room for our answer. she asked stuff like "what are your views on gay marriage and abortion" and other stuff like that. Finally she asked "Do you believe in God?" . I stood on the no side of the room by myself (i live in the bible belt btw) and that was the first time i admitted it to myself.

 

I am a neurotic person and every time i used to feel worried I would pray automatically. After i wasnt christian i would still get that reaction but i had no way to comfort myself. I had a really hard time. My mind completley developed around the concept of christianity and with it gone the way i viewed the world didnt really make sense. I had a lot of emotional breakdowns often for no specific reason.

 

I have had a lot of time to think things over and overall i have been better, but i still have a lot of problems left over from christianity. about a month ago i smoked the legal stuff with the chemical JWH18 in it ( I DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT SHIT!) and i pretty much had a panic attack and i started praying. Christianity is so deeply ingrained in my mind that that sort of thing happens every once in a while. without christianity, i have had no way to supress my thoughts like i used to which has made me really emotional latley. I am just now dealing with things that happened to me that i supressed, like getting molested by my grandfather. I think the thing that messed me up the most about christianity is that there is a set of values you are supposed to hold. For example you are supposed to love your family. I honestly dont like my dad very much as a person but christianity made me try really hard to so any time i had negative feelings about my dad, i would get a lot of inner turmoil trying to fight that feeling. that still happens to me constantly. I have been so emotional lately and im just sick of my dad and religion being a constant theme in my life.

 

If you read all of that I really appreciate it. If you can relate and tell me if anything helped you that would be great.

Thanks.

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Hi, opiate465, and welcome to ExC.

 

You ask about certain Christian habits or mindsets that you having difficulty letting go of. I think the most helpful thing I can tell you, is that what you are experiencing is perfectly normal. When you have been a Christian for so long and adopted the "Christian mindset" as your own, that doesn't just go away the minute you determine that you are no longer a Christian. You (and the rest of us) went through a literal form of brainwashing. But the good news is that you can get rid of the Christian baggage. Take your desire to pray as an example. It is coming up on four years since I left Christianity and every once in a while I still get the momentary urge to pray. But I have been actively suppressing that urge and so now that urge surfaces only very rarely and I am very confident that in time I will lose it completely.

 

So what I am saying to you is to challenge the vestiges of your Christian mindset. Actively suppress any desire to pray and, as you will see, you will begin to lose it. As for your inner turmoil concerning your father, again, challenge in your own mind the notion that you must honor your father unconditionally as the Bible suggests in the ten commandments. When you begin really questioning that concept, then you will have made a great step away from that Christian mindset.

 

I am sure it is just a matter of time before you start seeing an improvement in your ability to get past the Christian mindset.

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Summer before college i read 1984. This book really got me thinking about "double think" and how much i had of it. It also made me think about how our perceptions are so easily manipulated and how mine were by christianity. i think that at this point I had already verbalized my doubts about christianity so I could supress them no longer. I was still trying with all my might to cling onto them though.

 

1984 had a big impact on me as well at about that age. Also Brave New World, We, Anthem and other dystopic novels. Great stuff for jump-starting the anti-authoritarian mindset in young people.

 

Welcome!

 

Phanta

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Welcome Opiate

 

I cannot relate except for the indoctrination part. It sucks that girls have to deal with family molestation esp.from people they should be able to trust.

 

I am glad you have a BF that is agnostic and challenged your beliefs.

 

You are still young and your whole life is ahead of you. If the molestation is a big emotional issue, I suggest you seek counseling. Maybe the ladies can chime in here by PM.

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Overcome Faith, thanks for the advice I appreciate it. I need to spend some time thinking about how christianity has effected my thought patterns so that I can eventually change them over time.

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Summer before college i read 1984. This book really got me thinking about "double think" and how much i had of it. It also made me think about how our perceptions are so easily manipulated and how mine were by christianity. i think that at this point I had already verbalized my doubts about christianity so I could supress them no longer. I was still trying with all my might to cling onto them though.

 

1984 had a big impact on me as well at about that age. Also Brave New World, We, Anthem and other dystopic novels. Great stuff for jump-starting the anti-authoritarian mindset in young people.

 

Welcome!

 

Phanta

 

Yes 1984 is definitly my favorite book alongside Fahrenheit 451. I also read Brave new world this year. I have definitly been reading several dystopian novels lately. I guess i should read we and anthem :)

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Hello, Opiate465. Another really good book that you might enjoy is "Leaving the Fold" by Marlene Winell. I got mine used for a good price off Amazon. It was of tremendous help to me for dealing with emotional baggage from Christianity. Welcome to Ex-C!

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Hello, Opiate465. Another really good book that you might enjoy is "Leaving the Fold" by Marlene Winell. I got mine used for a good price off Amazon. It was of tremendous help to me for dealing with emotional baggage from Christianity. Welcome to Ex-C!

 

 

Thanks for the suggestion Eugene! I will check it out

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yeah "Leaving the Fold" is priceless. I even gave it to my evangelical mom to read. Wish I'd had several years ago.

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